Open4Business: May 2016

The 5 minute Q&A: Billy Wright

Billy Wright Masterchef

Culinary skills are not something you’d normally associate with a property, but Billy Wright of Randell Commercial looks set to change that. A consultant with the Battersea based property agency, Billy was a finalist on the recent series of MasterChef, where he dazzled the nation and wowed the judges with his determination, innovation and culinary skills.

You work in the property sector, so what’s the connection to food?

The team at Randell Commercial are passionate about food, and I’ve been interested in food and restaurants since I was a child. Recently, I’ve enjoyed taking this side of the work at Randell Commercial forward by working on acquisitions and disposals for foodie clients such as Doppio Coffee and Hummus Brothers.

So what prompted you to take part in MasterChef?

I’ve been cooking for my friends and family for years and they’re always saying I should go on the show. Last year I was watching the quarter final and really felt that I could do better. So I plucked up some courage, filled in the online application form and went through an audition process before being chosen as one of the 40 contestants.

Describe the first of filming.

It was a completely alien environment. Gregg Wallace and John Torode were both on set, and I was very much like a rabbit in the headlights - nervous and not really with it... But somehow I managed to do enough to go straight through to the next round.

What is your signature dish?

Shepherd’s Pie!

What would you say you’ve learnt from the experience?

Timing and trying to maintain a clean work station are key. The time constraints force you to work as methodically as possible, setting out clear plans in your mind. I’ll never be the cleanest or tidiest cook, but being on the show has made me a bit better – I think! Food wise, every dish you create, needs to be fundamentally delicious – if not you need to rethink it. When making a TV show there’s a lot of waiting around, so it’s definitely made me more patient.

Do you see yourself changing careers?

No, but I am looking to push the food and beverage advice offering at Randell Commercial with consultancy and perhaps menu development.

If you hadn’t worked in property, what would you have done?

When I was younger I wanted to be a sports agent.

What do you like most about being based in Wandsworth?

You have everything you need on your doorstep - lovely wide open green spaces, and you're only 20 mins from Central London.

What words of advice do you have for budding MasterChefs?

Be true to yourself, stick to what you know and taste, taste, taste, taste!